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Deon Davis, #B-40639 v. Lt. Bedinger

August 2, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge:


Plaintiff Deon Davis, an inmate currently in Stateville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on an incident that occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Menard Correctional Center. Plaintiff is serving six consecutive ten-year sentences for aggravated criminal sexual assault, and four years for possession of contraband in a penal institution. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening.-- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact."

Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Conversely, a complaint is plausible on its face "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts "should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements." Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

Upon careful review of the complaint and supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

The Complaint

Plaintiff alleges that on December 18, 2008, he was physically assaulted by Defendants Bedinger, Phifler, Mitchell and Davis, all of whom are correctional officers at the prison. At the time, Plaintiff was housed in the North One Protective Custody unit (NI-PC) in Menard. While Plaintiff was in line with other inmates going to the dining room, Defendant Davis called Plaintiff out of line and handcuffed Plaintiff's hands behind his back. Defendant Davis took Plaintiff back to the NI-PC, where they were met by Defendant Bedinger. Plaintiff asked why he was being taken there, to which Defendant Bedinger responded, "Shut your black ass up!" and Defendant Davis yelled, "shut the fuck up tough guy!" (Doc. 1, p. 3-4).

Defendant Davis then ordered Plaintiff to face the wall, which he did. After about fifteen minutes of standing in this position, Plaintiff asked what he had done. Defendant Davis then said, "I thought I told you to shut the fuck up," and then punched Plaintiff on the back of his head and pushed Plaintiff's face into the concrete wall (Doc. 1, p. 4). The blows caused Plaintiff to lose consciousness. Defendants Davis, Bedinger, and Mitchell then repeatedly kicked and punched Plaintiff while he lay handcuffed on the floor, which woke him up. The three defendants yelled racial slurs at Plaintiff while they continued to beat him.

After this attack, Plaintiff was taken to North Two Segregation unit, where he reported the beating and his injuries to an unnamed nurse and an unnamed major.

Defendant Phifler then came onto the scene and took Plaintiff to a shower area, where he told Plaintiff to "Take them braids out of your hair or I'll show you what a real ass kicking is" (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff responded that he was still cuffed. Defendant Phifler said, "You should grow your hair like normal people," then removed Plaintiff's cuffs and struck Plaintiff across his face (Doc, 1, p. 4). At all times during these attacks, Plaintiff asserts he offered no resistance.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Bedinger, in addition to participating in the beating, was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's need for medical care for his injuries. Plaintiff was taken to the Health Care Unit soon after the attack, but was placed in an isolation room and was not examined, treated, or given any pain medication. Plaintiff then declared a hunger strike.

Plaintiff was seen the following day by Dr. Feinerman (who is not a defendant), but Defendant Bedinger was present during the examination. Defendant Bedinger "invaded Plaintiff's medical privacy" by "extracting" the information from Dr. Feinerman that Plaintiff had a hip injury (Doc. 1, p. 6). Defendant Bedinger took Plaintiff to the x-ray room after the doctor ordered an x-ray, and threatened Plaintiff with "another ass kicking" if Plaintiff did not "keep [his] mouth shut to the medical staff" (Doc. 1, p. 6). Defendant Bedinger then "whispered to the x-ray nurse" while Plaintiff was being x-rayed, and only one x-ray was taken of Plaintiff's hip (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff was never given ...

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